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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

LA County Bans Plastic Bags

BREAKING: LA County Bans Plastic Bags

With a 3-1 vote in favor of the measure, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a sweeping ban on plastic grocery bags in unincorporated areas of the county.

The ban will affect nearly 1.1 million residents countywide and has been called one of the nation's most aggressive environmental measures to date.

The official measure reads: "No store shall provide to any customer a plastic carryout bag." Plastic bags that are used to hold fruit, vegetables or raw meat in order to prevent contamination with other grocery items will be exempt from the ban.

Grocers that continue to offer plastic bags will be required to charge customers 10 cents per bag, according to the ordinance. The revenue will be retained by the stores to purchase the paper bags and educate customers about the law (LA Times).

In late August, heavy and costly lobbying by plastic bag manufacturers prevented the California state Senate from passing a state-wide plastic bag ban, despite the support of the state Assembly and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, the only official to vote against the ban, cautioned that small businesses could suffer financially because of the ban. Antonovich also worries that low-income people could be forced to begin buying bags to pick up pet waste or carry their lunch.

It's still possible for the measure to be legally challenged.

Similar plastic bag bans passed in San Francisco and Malibu are less strict because they don't involve a surcharge. Environmental advocates of banning plastic bags say these measures provide no incentive for consumers to switch to reusable cloth bags, the most eco-friendly option.